Interview: Artist Glen Baldridge on the Process Behind His Wondrous Paintings

“Wigwag,” the painter’s colorful new show, is on now at NYC’s Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery

Inside painter Glen Baldridge‘s ninth show at NYC’s Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, Wigwag (on now through 11 February), mesmerizing works—featuring psychedelic creatures with piercing eyes, abstract woodland branches and kaleidoscopic acorns—posses a magnetism that must be experienced firsthand. Baldridge developed a laborious technique to execute these vibrant gouache-on-paper paintings, where the artist soaks the paper before saturating a brush with multiple colors at different densities so that the pigment passes over with various intensities. There’s chaos and control, underscored with whimsicality and inspirations from children’s books to his own backyard in Maine.

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by Theo Coulombe

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by Theo Coulombe

Sam Wilson, one of the three owner/directors at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, tells us that Baldridge “has always been an innovative artist in terms of material and process. He has a background in printmaking and actually produced his own prints, as well as prints with other artists, for a long time.” This printmaking past, as well as the specificities of the blend roll process, informs the technique behind his current paintings.

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Courtesy of Klaus Gallery

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Courtesy of Klaus Gallery

“Each stroke is made up of three to five colors, sometimes more,” Baldridge tells us. “There’s a lot of play with how those colors meet within that one stroke—and then there’s a change when you flip the brush the other way. I often think about how color meets and how it reads differently depending on how it’s applied next to other things.”

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Courtesy of Klaus Gallery

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Courtesy of Klaus Gallery

Each work employs its own particular bleeding rainbow of color. “I’m often looking at pot paraphernalia and macrame and tie-dye for inspiration,” he continues. “There are tie-dye people on Instagram that make process videos. A lot of the language they use, where they refer to patterns and coloration, I dip into that. The ‘wigwag’ is a shifty pattern. It’s how I handle the brush and where I got the show title from.”

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Courtesy of Klaus Gallery

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Courtesy of Klaus Gallery

Each painting can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on Baldridge’s attention at the time. The process itself informs the subject matter, especially when his lines begin to form abstract figures. “Those guys in particular kind of came out of the process and using the end of the paint in the brush. It takes a while to set up the palate and how the strokes flow, to make it apply the right way,” he says. “It’s a process of cleaning the brush out, where these ‘people’ begin to appear as waterfall-like stoner guys with flowing hair.”

His owl-like imagery, however, is an abstraction of text-based work. A careful look at each reveals the words “no way.” As Baldridge says, “I was using the circles for the center of text-based work. Things sort of emerged from those letterforms. I’ve done a lot of work investigating them. It made sense that an owl was there. And that the guys emerge from the landscape, and the acorns, as well, from playing with paint.”

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Courtesy of Klaus Gallery

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Courtesy of Klaus Gallery

It’s more of a collision of inspirations and process, however. “The ‘no way’ phrase has been a mantra repeated throughout different bodies of my work since 2016,” he continues. “When I first developed this brushstroke technique, that’s where I started, with that text laid into this intense pattern. I have a child, so I read a lot of children’s books and I live in the forest. The owls developed out of all of that. There are owls all over children’s books and they signify all different things.”

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Courtesy of Klaus Gallery

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Courtesy of Klaus Gallery

Baldridge has been working with the idea of the woods and the idea of unseen things in the forest for many years, though his earlier work is photo-based. “For about 10 years I had hunting cameras set up that were triggered by unseen things and captured photos when I wasn’t there,” he says. “I made artist books with those images, and called them Animal Selfies, as if the animals that triggered the cameras had been taking the photos of themselves.” Through other works, Baldridge continued to probe the unexplained things that happen in the woods.

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Courtesy of Klaus Gallery

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Courtesy of Klaus Gallery

As much attention is paid to the background of each painting as the subject matter. No two look the same. “I have a starting point but I don’t always have the entire painting figured out,” he says. “I try to keep it playful in that way and respond to color and see what happens. There are also unknowns with the process, the watercolor-y, wet-on-wet influence. And then there’s drying time depending on how much water is in there.”

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Courtesy of Klaus Gallery

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Courtesy of Klaus Gallery

Baldridge (who admits that he likes people to ask, “What am I looking at?”) also says that the new Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery location informed his most recent set of paintings. “The gallery moved to Tribeca, to this big, beautiful space and it was an opportunity for me to scale up,” he says. “I got 40 by 60 watercolor paper and that was my starting point. All of these pieces were made specifically for this show.”

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Courtesy of Klaus Gallery

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Courtesy of Klaus Gallery

Prior to living and working in Maine, Baldridge lived in Brooklyn, not far from the first Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery outpost. The move north influenced his artistic output. “I’d say that the work has gotten a lot more imaginative since moving here,” he says. “It’s more from my head and less from remote cameras, but it’s still exploring the same landscape.” Landscape, figurative or still life, Baldridge’s abstract vision is composed of—and disperses—exuberance and joy.

Hero image courtesy of Klaus Gallery

Régis Roudil creates adobe nursery in grounds of Parisian palace

French practice Régis Roudil used adobe and timber to construct this nursery in the grounds of the historic Palais de l’Alma in Paris.

Occupying the garden to the rear of the 19th-century national palace, formerly the stables of Napoleon III and now presidential offices, the 24-child nursery opens out onto a quiet urban garden surrounded by historic frontages.

The Nursery by Régis Roudil
The nursery was designed by Régis Roudil

“Previously housed in an older, ill-adapted building on the rue de l’Elysée, [the nursery’s] new position provides it with a genuine place of serenity,” explained the studio.

“One of the challenges of this project was to carefully integrate [the nursery] into this exceptional urban fabric in a way that respected the existing built heritage.”

Exterior photo of the Nursery by Régis Roudil
It was constructed using timber and adobe

The narrow, single-storey building extends the width of the garden, anchored by two solid adobe forms at either end that were connected by an exposed timber structure.

Inside, the central space contains a large, open classroom organised around a central bathroom block and bookended by two crib areas, illuminated by skylights in a raised, gently sweeping section of the metal roof.

Beneath the timber beams of the roof structure, the nursery is fitted with bespoke timber furniture, allowing the space to be flexible and easily reconfigured if necessary.

At either end, the more private adobe structures contain an office and storage, separated from the central classroom by entrance spaces containing lockers and seating.

Photo of The Nursery by Régis Roudil
It is located on the grounds of the Palais de l’Alm

Framed by timber columns, a series of large, sliding glass doors in the classroom open out onto a play and seating area, separated from the palace gardens by a low fence of freestanding wooden planks.

“The notion of courtyard and introverted space is evoked..on the north side, the children’s garden is placed in direct contact with the garden of the Palais to offer users the enjoyment of a visual escape towards nature,” explained the studio.

“As this place is sensitive, owing to its purpose and its function, it has no direct views onto or from the public space…the garden appears as a bucolic. green lung in this stone context.”

Photo of the interior of the building
It has a wooden interior

On the opposite side of the building, a pathway has been created between the palace walls and the nursery’s southern elevation, creating a route all the way around the building overlooked by windows.

Other nursery projects recently featured on Dezeen include the MS Kindergarten in Japan by Hibinosekkei, designed to help children feel closer to nature, and a minimal, timber extension to a kindergarten in Austria by Bernado Bader Architekten.

The photography is by Florent Michel.

The post Régis Roudil creates adobe nursery in grounds of Parisian palace appeared first on Dezeen.

The Silver Spoon for Children New Edition: Favorite Italian Recipes

Comprising 40 recipes for Italian dishes, the new edition of The Silver Spoon for Children celebrates the book’s 10th anniversary with a refreshed, user-friendly layout. Featuring charming, helpful illustrations by Harriet Russell as well as enticing food photography, the updated cookbook (edited by Amanda Grant) includes instructions on making classics like spaghetti all’amatriciana, stuffed peaches and prosciutto-wrapped melon. Intended for kids seven and older, it’s a useful, fun resource for young cooks.

2023 Toyota Sequoia review


  • Bold, stately looks
  • Good power
  • Towing capacity


  • Cramped third row
  • Compromised storage




A big, capable SUV wrapped in a stately look that gives it the presence to match its volume.

Sometimes you look at a car and look at the name of the car and you’re left with the feeling that the designers and engineers and product planners were pretty far down the list before everyone finally decided what to call the thing. That’s not the case with the Toyota Sequoia, which for the 2023 model year gets a much-needed full redesign.

The sequoia is a tree, of course, but not just any tree. Sequoias are the tallest trees in the world. If that weren’t enough, they’re also the heaviest. Apt, then, that Toyota chose that particular stoic woodland fixture for the name of its biggest SUV, a titanic, three-row machine that will stand large and proud in any company.

Volume Play

How big is it? Well, it’s just 7 cm shorter than Chevrolet’s titanic Tahoe, three cm shorter, and a mere three cm narrower. So, yeah, pretty big, but it fills those proportions well. It looks stately and sophisticated, especially in the Wind Chill Pearl white that my test car you see here was painted.

The Sequoia has always taken styling cues from the Tundra upon which it is based, and thankfully the edgier front-end on Toyota’s redesigned full-sized truck works great here on this full-sized SUV. Big creases in the fenders lead to the headlights up front and the taillights out back, while more creases down low on the doors ensure the thing doesn’t look too slab-sided.

Those creases are highlighted with a bit of brightwork on this, the top-shelf Capstone trim, which pairs nicely with the massive chrome grille out front. (Lesser trims get rather more subtle black grilles, either with horizontal bars or the same honeycomb mesh you see here.) The wheels, too, are polished, measuring a massive 22-inches at all four corners, while the chromed mirror caps ensure there’s plenty of shine throughout.


The interior, too, has a light and bright look and feel to match the exterior. That’s helped by the cream-colored leather, which the designers thoughtfully included only on the upper portions of the seats. This is a smart move, avoiding the gloomy doldrums found in so many automotive interiors yet also keeping the high-wear areas of the upholstery dark, so you won’t have to worry about stains from blue jeans or brown dogs or anything else that’s liable to come in contact.

That’s typical Toyota family friendliness, which is readily found on even this big, luxurious rig. There are enough cup holders scattered about here for even the thirstiest of little ones and USB charging for every seat, even in the way-back. There’s no in-cabin, middle-seat entertainment offered, but since everybody brings their own media for road trips these days that seems like a smart move.

Starting at the back, the third row is actually reasonably easy to get into thanks to second-row seats that fold forward. But, once those seats are clipped back into position there’s not a lot of room left for luxuries like feet or knees. This is, then, a spot best reserved for little ones. Again, a pair of USB-C ports back here will keep their devices charged up, while manual window shades keep them out of the sun.

Or, if you’re rolling with fewer folks, these seats fold down at the touch of a button. They don’t, however, fold flush with the floor, which makes loading longer cargo a bit awkward. Toyota designers attempted to address this with a moveable rear shelf that can be lifted and then expanded to fill the gap. It’s functional and durable, but it’s also heavy and cumbersome to slot into place.

Second row seats are plenty comfortable, with enough head and leg room to suit adults. Middle passengers have their own USB-A and C ports, along with discrete HVAC controls and even a little plastic storage cubby between the seats.

Up front, though, is of course the most comfortable place to be. The heated and ventilated seats are plush enough for longer trips and wide enough for squirming around when those trips get to be a little too long. Those heaters are also extremely effective; you’ll never suffer from a chilly posterior here. Visibility is great and, with the massive panoramic sunroof, there’s never any shortage of light. That said, the view out the back is limited, whether you use the traditional rear-view mirror or the digital one. The digital mirror has the advantage of not forcing you to look past a truckload of passengers, but the flat colors and lack of contrast just make everything look awfully muted.


The other displays in the cabin fare better, particularly the 14-inch center display. It sits up high in the middle of the dashboard, up above a comprehensive set of HVAC controls — and a USB-A plug that looks a little bit randomly tacked on there. Toyota’s new (and cunningly named) Toyota Multimedia System is stripped down basic to the extreme, with few controls and menus, but despite that it works well. Everything is easy to find and everything is extremely snappy. Even the voice recognition is near-instantaneous. Overall, it’s a huge upgrade over previous generations of Entune.

But, of course, you can supplant all that with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, wirelessly here, with a Qi wireless charger capable of keeping your phone charged while it drives the in-dash experience.

Another display lives behind the steering wheel, a 12.3-inch virtual gauge cluster that displays all the information you need, with configurable displays showing everything from boost pressure to pitch and roll. If that’s not enough, a 10-inch heads-up display beams intel onto the windscreen, too.


So you won’t be lacking information, nor power. Every Sequoia trim gets Toyota’s i-Force Max V6, with 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque thanks not only to a pair of turbos but also a hybrid system. Make no mistake: Toyota’s not really making this out to be an economical choice. In fact, the default gauge configuration shows the power from the hybrid system right next to the turbo boost pressure. This, then, is purely a power move, and the EPA figures show it: 20 mpg is the combined rating on 4WD Sequoia, 19 in the city and 22 on the highway. I didn’t come anywhere near those figures, scoring 16.5 in my testing.

So yes, it’s a hybrid, but not the sort that you can expect to cover any miles in emissions-free. In fact, I struggled to speed to more than a crawl before the 3.445-liter engine spun to life. Even pretending there was a fresh egg between my foot and the gas pedal didn’t help. When it does fire, you’ll hear it. Even in Eco mode that V6 is quite loud. It sounds good to my ear, but it can tend to drone after longer stretches on the road.

Acceleration is strong and towing healthy, the Sequoia, with its Class IV hitch, is rated to tow 8,980 pounds in Capstone trim, 9,520 if you step down to the SR5. Handling, meanwhile, is tolerably good but with some unmistakeable, truck-like vibes that harken back to its Tundra underpinnings. It’s calm and smooth on the highway and deals with minor road imperfections without too much complaint, but bigger bumps definitely upset things.

For anyone coming from a truck, like the aforementioned Tundra, this will all feel very familiar and the Sequoia is quite comfortable for the most part. But, if you’re stepping up from a smaller, crossover SUV, the driving dynamics will feel harsh. Par for the course for something that can tow this much or, indeed, hold its own after the asphalt ends. I sadly didn’t have a chance to properly test the Sequoia’s off-road chops, but with its two-speed transfer case and limited-slip differential at the rear, it should handle itself just fine in the rough stuff.

Options and Pricing

If you are more interested in challenging ruts and rocks, the TRD Pro trim might be more your style, with its locking rear differential and 2.5-inch Fox coilovers. What you see here is the Capstone trim, with a more luxurious intent. It is priced to match. Toyota lists a current base price for the Sequoia SR5 at $56,365. This 4X4 Capstone trim, with about $1,000 in options and a $1,595 destination charge, came in at a rather more dear $80,906. For that you get all the extra flare on the outside, plush posh, multicolor ambient lighting inside, nicer materials, and auto-leveling air suspension.

Capstone doesn’t really get you much beyond the Platinum trim, which starts about $5,000 cheaper. That seems like the right place to start.

So it’s big, capable, has plenty of room inside and out, and wraps it all up in a stately look that gives it the presence to match its volume. It is, in other words, a great choice for those who want to haul lots of folks, tow lots of things, and go to lots of places that aren’t necessarily paved. Toyota’s refreshed big boy delivers.

The post 2023 Toyota Sequoia review first appeared on Yanko Design.

Luca Nichetto transforms Swedish villa into his own studio and showroom

The Pink Villa by Luca Nichetto

Luca Nichetto has converted a 1940s villa in Stockholm into a studio to display his designs in a domestic setting and provide a comfortable working environment for his team.

The Italian designer’s studio was previously based out of an apartment in the city’s Midsommarkransen neighbourhood. But when the landlord wanted to raise the rent, Nichetto decided to relocate to a larger property in a nearby suburb.

The Pink Villa by Luca Nichetto
Luca Nichetto has turned a 1940s villa into his own studio

“I didn’t really need to look for another space in the city centre because it’s not that important for us as we work globally,” Nichetto explained.

“A week after beginning to search, I saw on the real estate market what is now the Pink Villa. It was simply perfect and I made the offer.”

Interior image of The Pink Villa
A blush-pink staircase leads up to the first floor

The Pink Villa is a typical 1940s wooden house with a gabled roof and a large garden. Nichetto bought the property in 2021 and began adapting the interior to make it suitable for use as a studio.

“I didn’t want a conventional studio space but rather a space that could be a studio, a showroom and a domestic property to be used on the weekends by my family and during the week by my team,” the designer told Dezeen.

Photo of the interior of The Pink Villa
Nichetto’s Banah sofa for Arflex sits in the living area

The villa takes its name from its distinctive pink exterior, which was given a fresh coat of bubblegum-pink paint to maintain its characterful presence on the street.

The property’s existing three bedrooms were transformed into a private office for Nichetto on the first floor and a meeting room and tailor’s workshop on the ground floor, which his wife uses on the weekends.

Interior image of the The Pink Villa
La Manufacture’s Soufflé mirror helps to bring character to the space

A corridor leads from the entrance to a bright living room that looks onto the garden. An opening beyond the stairs up to the first floor connects with the simple custom-built kitchen.

Along with Nichetto’s office, the upper floor contains a second bathroom and a large open workspace that facilitates flexible use rather than incorporating dedicated workstations.

Interior image of a kitchen at The Pink Villa
Bright and bold colours were used throughout the interior

The interior features a pared-back palette of materials and colours that provide a neutral backdrop for a selection of products and furniture designed by Nichetto for brands including Offecct, Cassina, Arflex and Bernhardt Design.

“I wanted to give a touch of warmth and I did that using colour and volumes,” the designer said. “I particularly chose materials culturally connected with the south of Europe and very deliberately mixed them with Scandinavian features.”

In the living area, pale-pink walls and white-painted floors contribute to the light and airy feel. Nichetto’s Banah sofa for Arflex and Soufflé mirror for La Manufacture are among the playful designs that bring character to this space.

Upstairs, the main office spaces feature furniture such as Nichetto’s Torei low table for Cassina and Nico armchair for Bernhardt Design. His office contains the Railway table for De Padova and Robo chairs by Offecct.

The Pink Villa by Luca Nichetto
Walls in the living area were painted a light pink

One of the key qualities that attracted Nichetto to the property is the spacious garden, which includes a terrace furnished with his Esedra table and Pluvia chairs for Ethimo.

The basement garage was converted into a self-contained guest suite called the Chalet, which includes a living room, bedroom and bathroom with a Swedish sauna.

Interior image of a workspace
The house also has a self-contained guest suite

Since the renovation was completed in April 2022, the Chalet has hosted international visitors including art directors, photographers and designers.

The property’s location close to a park and to the water was another reason it appealed to Nichetto, who said he enjoys the proximity to nature and the good relationship he has established with his neighbours.

interior image of the office
Ceramic tiles provide a pop of colour

A housekeeper was hired to look after the studio and to prepare meals for the team, adding to the sense of it hybrid space that is both domestic and designed for work.

“It’s like being in a family: we all have lunch together and there are no fixed workstations to work,” he explained. “Moreover, whoever comes to visit us, if he wants, can stay and sleep. The idea is to create a sense of community.”

Photo of the terrace
Ethimo’s Esedra table and Pluvia chairs decorate the terrace

Luca Nichetto established his multidisciplinary practice in Venice, Italy, in 2006 and continues to run a studio there alongside his main office in Stockholm. Nichetto Studio specialises in industrial and product design as well as art direction for design brands.

Nichetto’s recent work includes a series of home fragrances for Ginori 1735 and his first foray into fashion accessories in the form of the apple-leather Malala handbag.

The photography is by Max Rommel.

The post Luca Nichetto transforms Swedish villa into his own studio and showroom appeared first on Dezeen.

Effectively retrofitting UK housing requires "compromise between performance and heritage" say architects

Kitchen inside Low Energy House designed by Architecture for London

The UK’s ageing houses must be insulated against uncontrolled heat loss, but this will require accepting changes to their appearance, according to a series of British architects who have recently carried out their own energy-led retrofits.

“The majority of homes in the UK were built before we understood about climate change,” explained Sarah Wigglesworth, an architect who recently retrofitted her own home in London.

“If we do not insulate our homes and offices we are burning fuel just to throw it away into the atmosphere,” she told Dezeen.

UK housing oldest and most poorly insulated in Europe

Housing in the UK is among the most poorly insulated in Europe, according to research by German technology company Tado. As Wigglesworth implied, this is largely due to its age.

The Building Research Establishment (BRE) found that the UK has the oldest housing stock in Europe, with 38 per cent of the homes built before 1946, which compares to 29 per cent in France and 20 per cent in Italy. Additionally, 78 per cent of UK residents keep warm using gas central heating, the UK Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has found.

This means that most UK homes, which continue to rely heavily on burning fossil fuels for space heating, are losing warmth through their inadequately insulated envelopes.

Interior of Straw Bale House in London
Sarah Wigglesworth recently improved the energy efficiency of her Straw Bale House in London

Architecture for London founder Ben Ridley said that improving the energy inefficiency of the UK’s ageing homes is essential if it is to meet its target of net-zero emissions by 2050.

“Historically, fuel has been relatively cheap so insulating homes was seen as a low priority until the second half of the 20th century,” said Ridley, who also recently retrofitted his home with his studio Architecture for London.

“The vast majority of our traditional housing stock in the UK was therefore built with uninsulated solid masonry walls and single glazing,” he continued.

“Ultimately we are going to have to accept some changes in the appearance of our traditional homes.”

Key steps are to “insulate, make airtight and ventilate”

The energy inefficiency of UK housing has been in the spotlight recently not only because of its impact on the environment, which has influenced protests by Insulate Britain, but also due to the spiralling energy costs, exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In response to this, the UK government is capping the cost of energy to support people with paying their bills. However, according to architects, retrofitting at a national scale to cut heat loss from houses is a more effective long-term solution and should be the focus instead.

“In the short term helping people pay for their fuel bills helps, but it does not solve the long-term issue that we can’t continue to burn fossil fuels as we once did,” said Wigglesworth. “Only insulating our buildings will help this.”

Kitchen inside Low Energy House designed by Architecture for London
Architecture for London’s founder recently retrofitted his Edwardian home in Muswell Hill

Retrofit is the process of upgrading the energy efficiency of buildings. Robert Prewett of Prewett Bizley Architects summarised the main ways to do this as to “insulate, make airtight and ventilate”.

“Most homes need insulating and fitting with higher performance windows,” said Prewett, who recently carried out a retrofit of a London home that was shortlisted for RIBA House of the Year.

“As we do that we should also reduce air leakage, which can significantly undermine the impact of the insulation,” he continued.

“At the same time, we must always ensure that air quality is maintained or improved. This is likely to mean continuous silent extract ventilation possibly with heat recovery.”

Typically, insulation is first added to a roof, followed by floors and external walls – the latter of which can result in changes to a building’s exterior, particularly when windows are also upgraded.

Preserving heritage obstacle to retrofit of traditional homes

This can be an obstacle when retrofitting homes that are heritage-listed or located in conservation areas, as it threatens to impact the character of a building.

“Everything comes at a cost, and sometimes the external appearance will change, especially windows and walls,” said Wigglesworth.

Wigglesworth suggested internal insulation as a way to overcome this, as it allows a more sensitive retrofit that ensures a property retains its character.

“If retaining the external appearance is of paramount importance, then internal wall insulation is the answer,” she explained.

“It is costlier because it is much more fiddly to install, needs careful calculation to ensure no condensation occurs and you have to redo all the internal moulding, cornices, architraves and so forth that are part of the heritage feature.”

Construction worker applying external insulation to a house
Applying external insulation can improve the energy efficiency of existing houses. Photo is by U J Alexander via Shutterstock

However, in Ridley’s opinion, external insulation is the most effective way to retrofit and he believes guidelines for conservation buildings should be made less stringent.

“There are certainly conservation issues with listed buildings and those in conservation areas,” Ridley said.

“I believe that these need to be relaxed, particularly in relation to the side and rear facades of heritage buildings which are usually of little architectural interest or importance.”

Architect and Passivhaus advocate Paul Testa said that there must sometimes be a “compromise between performance and heritage”, and suggested working with a heritage expert when navigating these barriers.

Upgrading windows “the biggest challenge”

He highlighted that this could be particularly useful when upgrading windows of homes in historic or conservation contexts, which he described as “the biggest challenge” of retrofit.

“It’s difficult to make high-performance glazing look like an authentic original window,” explained Testa, who is director of Sheffield studio Hem Architects.

Testa added that one of the best solutions for this is to introduce a secondary glazing system, which offers an alternative to replacing windows.

“In some sensitive locations it may be necessary to use a high-performance secondary glazing system with the original windows sensitively repaired or replicated,” he said.

Testa added that another major challenge facing retrofit is “the lack of consistent government strategy”.

Many of the worst-performing homes are owned by occupants who cannot afford to retrofit and he believes that government backing and support is key to facilitating vital upgrades.

“This is where the government strategy and funding becomes critical,” Testa explained. “Without this, there will always be a huge proportion of the country that will never have the funds to affect the necessary change.”

Benefits of retrofit go beyond the environment

Testa said that the benefits of the government supporting retrofit go beyond the environment, as it could also help boost public health over winter months.

“We will see a rise in respiratory issues with under-heated, under-ventilated homes over the next few months as people struggle to cope with rising costs,” Testa explained.

“A building that has been retrofitted will likely have a better build quality, better thermal comfort and air quality, and hugely reduced risks of damp and mould.”

He added that “there is an estimated 42p saving to the NHS (National Health Service) for every £1 spent on the retrofit of fuel-poor homes”, referring to a study on fuel poverty by the non-governmental organisation Save the Children.

For him, the government’s first step should be to rid of value-added tax (VAT), which applies to renovations of existing buildings but not to new builds, meaning many people are priced out of retrofit projects.

Thermal image of heat loss from house
The UK’s housing is among the most poorly insulated in Europe

“The biggest step that could be made to improve retrofit take-up is to remove VAT from retrofit work,” Testa explained.

“Currently we have the crazy situation that new-build homes are Vat free, but retrofitting existing stock carries full 20 per cent VAT.”

Ridley agreed that a lack of political strategy and will is “a major issue currently” facing retrofit.

In his view, the government should “offer all homeowners and landlords low-interest loans to pay for retrofit works”.

“The interest on the loan could be repaid out of the future reduction in energy bills, therefore possibly have no net cost to the owner,” he suggested.

“Home insulation alone is not a magic bullet”

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is also calling on the government for more support in the retrofit of houses in the UK.

In a report named Home for Heroes, the RIBA demands a national programme involving the insulation of 3.3 million houses built in England’s interwar suburbs between 1919 and 1939.

It claims that by doing so, England’s total carbon emissions could be cut by four per cent per year, which is the “same amount as completely decarbonising [England’s] waste and recycling sector”.

However, according to a recent study by the University of Cambridge, adding insulation to UK homes does not guarantee long-term energy savings as much as hoped.

After analysing the gas-use patterns of more than 55,000 homes across England and Wales, researchers found that the fall in gas consumption achieved by retrofitting with wall insulation was cancelled out within four years by an increase in energy use.

The causes of this are still unknown, but the study speculates that it could be the result of the simultaneous construction of home extensions or if a home has a conservatory.

“There are very real benefits to households from good insulation, not least in terms of health and comfort,” said the report’s co-author Laura Diaz Anadon.

“However, home insulation alone is not a magic bullet,” she added. “In the long term, simply funding more of the same insulation roll-out to meet the UK’s carbon reduction and energy security targets may not move the dial as much as is hoped.”

The main photo is by Erik Mclean via Unsplash.

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Isern Serra creates pared-back office "with seemingly surreal details" for Andrés Reisinger

The interiors of Andrés Reisinger office

Spanish architecture and interior design studio Isern Serra kept to a material palette of concrete, quartz and stainless steel to create this pared-back office for Reisinger Studio

Located in the Poblenou neighbourhood in Barcelona, digital artist Andrés Reisinger‘s studio is surrounded by several other creative’s offices and is designed to reflect the artist’s minimalist, dreamlike style.

The ground floor of Andrés Reisinger's office
The Studio Reisinger office is designed to reflect the artist’s minimalist aesthetic

“The concept behind the interiors of my studio was to create a space that complements and doesn’t compete with the uplifting spirit of my work,” Reisinger told Dezeen.

“I wanted the studio to be like a canvas, with a kind of identity that I could play with,” he added. “The space is inspired by my work’s aesthetic, with seemingly surreal details amidst the light and bright studio.”

An office by Isern Serra
Isern Serra left its raw concrete pillars intact

Purchased as an empty shell, the Barcelona-based team decided to leave parts of the original space intact such as the concrete pillars while the ceiling was left exposed.

Natural tones and textures were introduced through paint and flooring to create an airy and monochromatic yet soothing feel.

A kitchen by Isern Serra
A stainless steel kitchen is on the ground floor

“First the colour and texture of the walls were chosen,” Isern Serra told Dezeen. “They are finished with a quartz-based paint in the form of a paste,” he added.

“A natural finishing of micro-cement for the flooring was chosen to have the same tone and textured effect,” Serra said.

A dining table inside Andrés Reisinger's office
A concrete table can be used for dining and working

The team then went about filling the space with office equipment and furnishings, paying close attention to sourcing locally made items that reflect the sculptural work of Reisinger Studio.

A large concrete table, which functions as a workspace and dining table was made on-site and stands in the middle of the studio.

It was produced in a hue that sits between millennial pink and beige – a colour that has become synonymous with Reisinger’s work. A similar shade can be seen throughtout Reisinger and architect Alba de la Fuente’s virtual residence Winter House.

Around the table is a set of chrome metal stools custom-made by designer Julia Esque that complement the stainless steel staircase which curls up the floor above.

Also in the area below the mezzanine, is a kitchen made entirely of stainless steel that features an integrated hydraulic push-to-open storage system.

An office interior by Isern Serra
A millennial pink colour palette was used throughout

On the upper floor, which is fronted by glass, Andrés Reisinger has a private office with a wooden desk for meetings. Plush pink seating here adds a touch of warmth. A separate shower and toilet are also situated on this floor.

“The goal was to create a space that would inspire, rather than distract, from the work being produced,” explained Reisinger.

“I imagined the studio as a blank canvas, a place where my team and I could come to experiment, evolve and grow our ideas and projects.”

The interior of an office by Isern Serra
The office has a separate meeting room

Argentinian designer Andrés Reisinger founded Reisinger Studio in 2018. The artist is best known for the Hortensia chair, a bulbous pink armchair made with CGI that went viral on Instagram.

He also made headlines for his collection of “impossible” virtual furniture, which sold for $450,000 at auction.

The photos are courtesy of Reisinger Studio.

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Indonesia set to begin construction on new capital this year

Site of Indonesia's new capital Nusantara

Indonesia has announced plans to begin the construction of 184 apartment blocks that will mark the first stage of development of its new capital Nusantara.

The housing will be the first element to be built in the new city, which is being created on the east coast of the island of Borneo to replace the current Indonesian capital Jakarta.

City designed for initial population of 500,000

Designed by Indonesian studio URBAN+, the city will contain the state palace, the house of representatives, government offices and housing for civil servants. It is being designed with the aim of having an initial population of 500,000 people.

Nusantara will be located between North Penajam Paser and Kutai Kartanegara on the Indonesian part of Borneo, 870 miles away from the current capital.

Indonesia to replace sinking Jakarta with new capital city
Top: president Joko Widodo visits the site of Indonesia’s new city. Photo by BPMI President’s Secretariat/Muchlis. Above: it will replace Jakarta as Indonesia’s capital. Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Nusantara National Capital Authority (NNCA) head Bambang Susantono recently announced that the first phase of the capital’s construction will begin in the second quarter of this year, reported Reuters.

In a presentation at the World Economic Forum, he explained that the apartment blocks would be built to house 14,500 civil servants, military and police.

Susantono announced that NNCA was in negotiations with three private developers from China, South Korea and Indonesia to undertake the work.

According to the NNCA, construction on the state palace will also begin this year and will be completed in 2024.

Nusantara will replace current capital Jakarta

First announced in 2019, Nusantara is a flagship project of Indonesian president Joko Widodo, who wants to move the capital away from Jakarta on the island of Java.

Home to around 10 million people, Jakarta has reported extreme land subsidence for decades and is at risk from rising sea levels as two-fifths of the city is below sea level.

Widodo believes that the relocation could ease pressure on Jakarta, which also suffers from intense congestion and extremely high pollution levels.

Indonesia is not the only country relocating its capital. Egypt is currently building its new capital on the outskirts of Cairo.

Other countries to relocate capitals include Brazil, which created the Oscar Niemeyer-designed Brasilia in 1961, while Myanmar moved its capital from Yangon to Naypyidaw in 2005.

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Carlos Castanheira brings order to abandonded caretaker's cottage in Braga

Stone walls of new bedroom wing at São Cosme House by Carlos Castanheira

Portuguese architect Carlos Castanheira has transformed an ageing stone cottage into a modern upside-down house.

Located on a farm in Famalicão, in Portugal’s Braga region, the previously abandoned caretaker’s cottage is now São Cosme House, a two-storey family home.

Stone walls of new bedroom wing at São Cosme House by Carlos Castanheira
The house occupies a former caretaker’s cottage that had been abandoned

Castanheira‘s renovation uncovers the original timber roof structure, adds a bedroom wing and gives the building an entirely new interior layout.

This upside-down layout places bedrooms and bathroom downstairs, freeing the upper level for an open-plan living and dining space with elevated views of the surrounding countryside.

Corner and stone walls of São Cosme House by Carlos Castanheira
The building is located on a steep slope

“The brief was relatively simple, but with a degree of complexity nonetheless,” explained Castanheira.

“This complexity was a result of the steep slope and because the various existing buildings were spread over different terraces.”

Exterior of São Cosme House by Carlos Castanheira
Existing stone walls were in good condition

Castanheira chose to make many of the design decisions for São Cosme House on site rather than at the planning stage, so that he could adapt his ideas to fit the existing conditions of the building.

“That’s how I like it to be and what makes it fun,” he said.

Upper level of São Cosme House by Carlos Castanheira
The timber roof structure was uncovered

The decision to reveal the roof structure came after the old ceiling was removed and the eucalyptus wood beams were found to be in relatively good condition underneath.

Similarly, when the building’s foundations were found to be insufficient, the team realised they could lower the floor level with minimal extra work required.

“We took the opportunity to go slightly lower, in order to increase the room height,” said Castanheira.

Staircase in São Cosme House by Carlos Castanheira
The house has an upside-down layout with bedrooms downstairs

Existing windows were retained and new openings were also made, to allow glazed doors to be installed on the northeast and southeast walls.

“There were traces of previous openings and their later closing up. Possible corrections or adaptations,” said Castanheira. “We cleared away what we thought excessive and we opened up a lot.”

Lower level in São Cosme House by Carlos Castanheira
The lower level has a quadrangle layout with rooms in the corners

In its renovated form, the layout of the lower floor forms a quadrangle with rooms in the corners and a connecting hallway in the middle.

The main bedroom is located in an extension on the northeast side of the building. The roof of this block serves as a balcony terrace for the floor above.

Another new block was also added at a lower level, which serves as a service entrance. It provides sheltered car parking, a laundry room and a workshop.

Wood was the preferred material for most of the new additions, although some steel was required to provide additional support for the repaired roof.

Bedroom in São Cosme House by Carlos Castanheira
A new wing houses the main bedroom

Castanheira believes that the hands-on approach has resulted in a building where it is hard to pick out which parts are old and which parts are new.

“When we go back there, it’s as if it has been this way for ages,” he said. “But a substantial transformation has taken place, for the better. This is the way architecture should be.”

Aerial view of São Cosme House by Carlos Castanheira
São Cosme House is located on a farm in Famalicão

Castanheira is based in Porto and is perhaps best known as a long-time collaborator of Pritzker Prize-winning architect Álvaro Siza.

The pair worked together on numerous projects including the Mimesis Museum in South Korea and the International Design Museum of China.

São Cosme House by Carlos Castanheira
Most of the new structure was built from wood

São Cosme House was completed for a client that Castanheira had previously worked with on other projects. The architect is currently exploring options to build another house on the same land, atop a large granite outcrop.

The photography is by Fernando Guerra.

Project credits

Architect: Carlos Castanheira Architects
Project team: Carlos Castanheira, Rita Ferreira, Mariana Mendes, Sofia Conceição, Maria Arez
Structural engineering: HDP Construction and Engineering Projects
Carpentry: Carpincunha Madeiras
Metalwork: Obvicerto Unipessoal
Zinc: ASA – A. Sousa Alves, Revestimentos de Zinco e Cobre
Construction: CMCunha Construções Unipessoal

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This sleek kick scooter turns into a mini bike for flexible commuting needs

The need for flexible urban mobility is becoming ever so important given the pace at which traffic congestion is escalating despite all the best efforts. Public modes of transport are at their saturation and mindful personal commuter like bicycles are also proving to be space churners.

Compact scooters aim to fill the gap left by other means of transportation with practicality. Beam smart mobility solution is a perfect example as it combines the fun element of a scooter and the reassurance of a bicycle by customizing it to the requirements.

Designer: Bhavya Upadhyay and Devam Jangra

This convertible electric scooter morphs into a mini bicycle in the blink of an eye which is its USP. This foldable single-person commuter is primarily designed for urban scenarios given its compact nature. Beam is loaded with all the necessary tech to make one go around the city limits or even down the dirt trails without any safety issues that can come up due to diminished visibility to other motorists. For the latter, the scooter cum bike has a bright headlight array and equally well-lit brake lights. For the design enthusiasts, the front of the bike sports a very Dyson-fan inspired aesthetic!

The ride is fitted with the highest-grade brakes and a robust handlebar for durability. The e-ink screen in the middle displays navigation details, while two small e-ink displays display real-time data including current speed, battery levels, drive mode and headlight status. User-centric features include a Bluetooth wireless camp speaker under the saddle, a built-in camera that doubles as a Gear Guard security camera, a detachable fog light on the front that doubles as a flashlight for camping trips, and a concealed toolkit.

Beam kick scooter with its multitude of use-case scenarios is high on practical urbanity and the looks follow suite. Perhaps the ideal ride for stylist Gen-Z who don’t compromise on anything.



The post This sleek kick scooter turns into a mini bike for flexible commuting needs first appeared on Yanko Design.